Friday, July 21, 2017

Italian Food, in Italy

When foreigners speak of Italian food it's a plate of pasta, likely with tomato sauce that comes to mind. With reason, in Italy this is the first course:
Italian food is obviously more than pasta but relies always on one thing, which is fresh flavor. 

A family grill over a wood fire consists of meat, olive oil and salt. The truffle toast in the background is made of truffles and olive oil with a little parsley. 

Lard and wild boar sausages, more delicious than you might imagine:

In Umbria food is made up of meat, more meat, preserved meat, fungus including truffles which are very fashionable right now, and everything needs to be fresh and local. Fast food, preservatives and chain franchises are anathema. You take a little wine with lunch to help digestion and finish with the inevitable coffee:
Stopping off for lunch we watched five police officers at a neighboring table order up lunch...mixed cold cut platter to share followed by pasta choices, main meat course with vegetable, salad and fruit washed down with a liter of red wine and several bottles of mineral water. Then coffees all round. We imagined our police chief spotting his officers on such a lunch break...
My sisters and brother-in-law shooting the breeze after our extended grilled picnic.  They would no sooner eat canned food or Chinese food than they would eat horse manure. Indeed one of the frustrations I have with Italians is how unadventurous they are when it comes to food. Home made caprese salad with local fresh mozzarella and tomatoes from the garden. 
When I was growing up in Italy meals ended with fresh fruit, fruit that smelled like fruit, that had fresh crisp sweet consistency, that often ended up pealed to satisfy the Italian hypochondria a bout omnipresent germs. Nowadays Italians eat delicious sweet desserts full of cream and sugar and cake. 
Oh dear.
 Italians eat well and they eat a lot but they eat healthy, hypochondria aside, and they love flavor and texture and freshness. Less is more.

2 comments:

David Masse said...

I know from experience that the flavours are amazing.

But variety is not what it is here. It's the sane all over Europe.

I wonder what they think of our restaurant and street food scene, where you can get pretty much anything, any time?

Kirsty said...

In reply to David Masse, what this European (England and France) thinks of the US restaurant and food scene is that it's severely hampered by quality and lack of variety. If you go food shopping, except in major metropolitan centers, the range and quality of meat, cheese, vegetables and fruit would be put to shame by any small-town French market. And let's not talk about the bread. Similarly in restaurants, unless I'm paying a LOT of money, I find it's just not that great.